You might already have separate wet or dry vacuum cleaners, which can only clean a specific category of mess. However, the mess you will find in a workshop, mostly if you work with wood, will not have any variety.
They can be a mixture of both dry and liquid stuff. And in those scenarios, the regular vacuum cleaners are not enough — what you would need is a shop vac.
However, not all of the devices that you stumble upon will be the best shop vac for woodworking. Some will be suitable for domestic houses only. And if you do get one of those, it would get tough for you to keep your workplace clean.
But you can stay utterly worry-free because we are here to ensure that you do get one that is strictly for woodworking.
Our 10 Best Shop Vac for Woodworking Picks
As we mentioned, not all of the shop vacs are really suitable for woodworking. And to make things easier for you, we have picked the ten best-performing that are going to be worth every penny that you would have to spend on them. Take a look at the ones that we have selected for you:
1. DEWALT DWV012 10-Gallon
You might have already heard about DEWALT. Yes, they are the reliable power tool brands that are on the market. And they are now providing well-performing shop vacs too.
First of all, the motor that it packs has a rating of 15 amps. It is mighty and can provide a fair amount of suction power. For that reason, the maximum amount of airflow that the device is able to provide is 140 CFM.
Because of that, no matter how much mess you have around your workstation, it would not take that long for you to clean it.
Besides that, it also comes with a variable suction mechanism. By adjusting that control, you will be able to change the power consumption of the device. Depending on the amount of mess that you have, you can also adjust the amount of suction. It will be pretty easy for you to carry out most of the cleaning tasks efficiently.
The unit also has a control panel for the power tool actuation. You will be able to control the ON and OFF operations right from the control panel. That will make it increase the overall speed of the cleaning tasks.
Furthermore, the telescoping handle that it comes with will make it easier for you to transport it. You will have no trouble at all while moving it around.
It features an automatic filter that will pulse every thirty seconds. That will ensure that the filtration process is continuous. You would not have to stop to clean the filter.
And as it is a HEPA filter, the filtration efficiency will be relatively high too. It can filter out most of the small particles, which will eventually result in dust and allergens free air around you.
2. Bosch VAC090A 9-Gallon
Having to clean the filter by stopping frequently can slow your cleaning process substantially. And that is where this vac from Bosch steps in.
To start with, it boasts an automatic filter cleaning process. That will clean the filter every fifteen seconds, ensuring that the filter does not clog when you are cleaning with the device. It also eliminates the need to stop and clean the filter when carrying out the cleaning tasks.
On that note, the suction power of the unit is up to par with the rest. You will not feel like you do not have enough amount of power, thanks to the beefy motor that it comes with.
And as the filter cleans itself in fifteen seconds, you will not have to worry about the suction power degrading when using it for a prolonged amount of time. The suction is going to remain consistent throughout the session.
Also, the device features a water level sensor. That will protect the motor inside the machine by shutting it off when the water reaches the maximum level. You will not have to play the guessing game anymore when you are clearing out the liquid mess. It also has a power broker dial that will optimize power consumption.
The device has a power tool activation mechanism. That will allow it to sync with the other power tools. In other words, you will be able to turn on the device by powering on the power tool that you are using for woodworking.
As a result, the mess you will make will get automatically sucked into the machine without you having to turn it on and clean it by yourself.
3. Ridgid WD1450 14-Gallon
Woodworking is a serious work that is not only resource-demanding but also requires a lot of effort. And such kinds of job requires a cleaner that can offer some serious horsepower, which is what this one is able to provide.
First of all, the motor that it packs has a peak 6 HP power rating. For that reason, no matter how much mess you are making while carrying out woodworks, it will be able to clean all of that efficiently. And surprisingly, the motor is reasonably silent, unlike the other ones that most of the vacs pack.
The filter that it sports is quite efficient too. It will be able to pick up all the small particles of dust and other similar elements that float in the air. As a result, the air around you will be free of pollens and sawdusts after using this unit. The bottom of the device has caster wheels, and the top has an adjustable handle.
It comes with a reasonably large power cord as well. The length of the cable is a staggering 20 feet. Because of that, you will not have to struggle that much trying to find a power outlet around your workplace.
Also, the hose is quite long as well. It also has a tug-a-long locking mechanism, which will enable it to stay secure to the device when you are pulling it.
There is a quick-release accessory bag that will let you keep all the accessories near your reach. And as the because of the two-piece drum construction, the overall ruggedness is pretty high. That will allow it to meet the demands of the heavy-duty job sites. Also, the drums are pretty easy to empty as well.
4. CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17607 16 Gallon
Even though most shop vacs are capable of picking liquid messes efficiently, most of them lack the ability to drain the liquid out properly. However, that is not the case with this one.
To start with, the drain port that it has is oversized. It is placed on the bottom of the body, which will ensure that the liquid is emptied out properly. Because of it being oversized, it will be quite convenient for you to empty out the drum.
You will also get plenty of accessories with the package. It comes with two extension wands, a utility nozzle, wet nozzle, diffuser, crevice tool, and many more.
The motor that it packs is quite powerful as well. It has a peak power of 6.5 HP, which is relatively higher than most other shop vacs. For that reason, you will get more than the required amount of suction power out of it. Cleaning tasks will be a piece of cake for you. The maximum CFM of the device is 165.
It is exceptionally versatile too. There is a mechanism that will enable you to switch the operational mode. You will be able to choose from suction and blowing mode. The blowing settings will allow you to blow out small chunks of wood, wood dust, and sawdust away from your working area.
Also, the hose that it comes along rotates to a full 180 degrees. That will provide you the flexibility that is required to clean out heavy-duty job sites. It also securely attaches to the device, which is going to ensure that it does not come loose when you are pulling it.
The power cord is comparatively large as well. It is 20 feet in length, making it easier for you to connect it with power outlets.
5. WORKSHOP WS1600VA High Capacity
Working at a heavy-duty worksite means there is going to a lot of mess. And to collect all of that, you would need something that has a high capacity, like this one from WORKSHOP.
Unlike most of the shop vacs, this one has a considerably large capacity. The container can collect about 16 gallons of mess. That means you would not have to stop and empty out the drum that frequently.
Also, the collection speed is high too. It can collect about 1 gallon of water per second. For that reason, cleaning tasks will be a breeze for you.
It also comes with a plethora of accessories. You will receive a utility hose, car nozzle, two different extension wands, a wet nozzle, and plenty of other things in the package.
Those will make it easier for you to carry out different types of cleaning tasks. And the main hose that it includes is 2-1/2 inches in diameter and is 7 feet long, which will enable you to clean tight and hard to reach places easily.
Aside from the long hose, the power cord is large as well. The overall length of the cord is 20 feet. That means you will not have to go through the scenarios where you will feel like you have a limited amount of reach. It also has an integrated blower port that will enable you to blow dust and small pieces away from your workstation.
The body of the vac is made of a rigid copolymer. Even the inside is of the same material. Because of that, the unit achieves a high level of durability. There is accessory storage on the feet, which will let you keep the most used accessories near your reach.
6. BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted 8P03-Gray
One of the brands that have been dominating the vacuum cleaner market is BISSEL. And they have intensified the shop vac market by bringing out this unit.
To start with, the motor that it comes with has a power rating of 12 amps. That means, unlike some of the other vacs, it will be able to a high amount of suction power.
You will have trouble at all in carrying out heavy-duty cleaning tasks with it. The tank is also relatively large. It can contain about 4 gallons of mess. And as it is semi-transparent, you will be able to know when the container is full.
The unit is exceptionally versatile as well. It can convert to a blower with just one flick of a switch. After converting it, you can blow leaves and other light objects away from your working area.
In the package, you are going to find seven different attachments. There is an accessory bag included as well. That will enable you to store all of those away securely.
Also, the hose that it comes along with is extra-long. You can stretch to about 32 feet. That, combined along with the five feet power cord that it has, there would be no place that you would find hard to reach. There is a wall mounting kit as well. That will mitigate the problems that you might face in the case of storing it.
Even though the built-in tank is semi-translucent, there is a LED light, which will light up when it is full. So even if you do not pay attention to the tank, you will be able to tell whether the container is full or not by keeping an eye on the LED.
7. Vacmaster Professional VJH1211PF0201
As the hose of most of the shop vacs are usually large in size, a problem arises when storing them. Well, Vacmaster is here to mitigate that.
To start with, the overall capacity of the unit is 12 gallons. Because of that, no matter how large of a mess you make, you will be able to clean almost all of it without having to empty out the drum frequently.
Also, the motor that it packs is quite powerful as well. For that reason, you would not have to spend that much time to carry out cleaning tasks.
Other than that, the body sports a construction of polypropylene. That material does make the unit not only durable but also lightweight. It will not crack, nor will it shatter that easily.
Again, as it is lightweight, moving it will not be a problem for you. The caster wheels on the bottom are going to make that easier for you. They roll quite smoothly and can tread on rough surfaces easily.
And the hose that it comes along is 2-½ inches long. There is a built-in storage board, which will make it easier for you to store the hose. And you will not have to worry about not being able to get proper reach because the power cord that it comes along is 20 feet long.
The drain port that it has on the bottom is extra-large in size. Even if you fill the drum up to the maximum, it will take you about thirty seconds to empty it up. And the top has a flat design that will let you keep the handy tools. It can also be converted into a blower, which will let you blow away light materials from your workplace.
8. Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon
Are you on the search for something portable? Want something compact but can provide a good amount of suction power? Then Shop-Vac has the right thing for you!
To start with, it features a compact footprint. That, combined with the caster wheels, will make this one highly portable and easily transportable. For that reason, moving it around will not be a hassle at all for you.
And even though the size is compact, the motor that it packs is quite capable. The peak power is 4.5 HP, and the airflow rate that it can offer is 175 CFM, which is reasonably high.
Also, the capacity of the unit is relatively high too. It has an overall 5 gallons of capacity. And the drum is made of stainless steel, which will lower the chances of any leakage.
It also has a filtration mechanism that will let you clear out dirt and other particles from the air. You will not have to worry about allergens and pollens after cleaning your workspace with this.
The hose that it includes is 7 feet long. You will also receive three extension wands. With those attached, there would no place that would be hard to reach for you. It also includes a gulper nozzle, crevice tool, floor nozzle, a seven feet hose, foam sleeve, and filter bags.
You will also receive a few replaceable filters, which will come in handy when the one that is inside is clogged.
And the overall construction is pretty solid as well. The exterior is made of heavy-duty material, which will ensure a prolonged lifespan. Just like some of the other vacs, this one also has a convertible mechanism. By flicking a switch, you will be able to convert it into a blower.
9. CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595
Having a flexible hose can come in handy when cleaning tight corners and places that do not really have that much clearance. And CRAFTSMAN implemented that on this unit.
To begin with, it packs a heavy-duty motor. The peak of that is 6.5 HP, which means you are going to get a serious amount of suction power out of it. And the overall form factor is pretty small and compact as well.
It can be stored inside small spaces pretty easily. You would not have to sacrifice that much amount of space for storing it.
The overall capacity of the unit is relatively high too. It has a 16 gallons drum, which will allow you to do most of the cleaning without needing frequent dispersing. That will enable you to quickly clean off the wood chippings and sawdust away from your working area.
It also has a built-in drain on the bottom, which is large in size. That will let you quickly drain out the collected water.
There is built-in accessory storage on the top. Because of that, you will not have to carry all the tools by your hand. The top also has an oversized handle, which will let you have a firm grasp over the unit when you are moving it around.
And the caster wheels on the bottom will make it easier to move it from one area to another. The wheels roll pretty smoothly.
And the included hose is 2-1/2 inches in diameter. That will make sure that it does not clog up that easily. Also, the overall length of the hose is 7 feet, which is pretty long. It sports dual-flex technology that will enable you to rotate it to a full 180 degrees.
10. Vacmaster VBV1210 12-Gallon
If you mostly plan to collect water and liquid mess using the shop vac that you are going to buy, you would want to get one of the units with an extra-large drain port. And you will that in this unit that is from Vacmaster.
As we have mentioned, the unit has a drain port that is considerably large. Because of that, you will be able to empty out the container, even when it is full of liquid mess.
And the drum is not small either. The overall capacity is 12 gallons, which means you will be able to collect a lot of clutter in one go. You might not have to stop and empty it out for specific tasks.
Alongside that, the handle on the top is also extra-large. That will make it easier for you to carry it around. You will also have the option to convert it into a handheld blower, which will blow air out at 210 MPH. And the motor that it comes with is pretty capable as well. It has a peak power of 5 HP.
Aside from that, the total cleaning reach that you are going to get from this is 19 feet. You will also be able to extend it even further with the two extension wands that the package includes.
There are other versatile accessories included as well. It even comes with a noise diffuser that will enable you to keep the operational noise low.
Lastly, there is a built-in spot for accessory storage. You can keep all the frequently used tools there. Also, the drum also has a filtration mechanism for both the dry and the wet mess. The dry one does a decent job in the case of filtering out the small particles from the air.
What to Look for Before Buying?
The reviews are not enough if you want to get the most out of the money you will need to spend on these. You will also have to keep some factors in mind. The factors that we are talking about are:
As we have mentioned above, woodworking is one of the serious jobs. That means the worksite is going to need something that is heavy-duty.
And if you get one of the vacs made of low-quality material, it will have trouble withstanding the working area’s heavy workloads. You will not be able to clear out the mess from your working area efficiently with those.
For that reason, you will have to consider the build quality first. You should only shoot for the ones that are made of high-quality materials. Also, do factor in the construction of the drum. If that is constructed of low-quality material, the liquid mess will easily leak out, which you would not want.
Size of the Drum
The capacity of the drum is one of the critical factors for shop vacs. In this factor, the higher the size, the more it will be able to contain. With the high capacity ones, you will be able to carry out extensive cleaning tasks without having to empty the drum that frequently.
As a result, your cleaning efficiency will increase, and the cleaning jobs would take less time.
Keeping that in mind, we would recommend you to opt for the high capacity ones. Most of them will hover around six to 12 gallons, which is more than enough. But if you can, we would recommend opting for the ones that are 16 gallons or more in capacity.
After factoring in the drum’s size, you will also have to consider the drain port that remains on the bottom. If you happen to get one that does not have a drain port, emptying the drum after collecting the wet mess will take a lot of time.
You would have to open the lid up and disperse it like a regular mess, which is not that convenient.
Considering that, you should shoot for the ones that feature a drain port on the bottom. Also, make sure that the drain port is large in size, or else draining the drum out would take a considerable amount of time.
Overall Size and Weight
Even though you might have a lot of space in your working area, getting compact and small ones are always recommended. You will be able to store them pretty quickly. Alongside that, the lightweight ones are going to be easier to carry around as well.
The handle that remains on the top of these is quite essential as well. No matter how lightweight the one you are shooting for might be, if the handle is not large enough, you will not be able to carry it around easily.
And considering that wood pieces fly off pretty easily and the sawdust generally spreads everywhere, you would want something that is easy to carry around.
For that reason, we would suggest opting for the ones that sport a large-sized handle on the top.
For portability, the wheels are equally important as the handle. If the wheels on the bottom are not large enough, the unit will not be able to tread on different terrains.
Also, if they do not roll smoothly, you will have trouble moving it around. Considering all of that, the ones that have large-sized wheels that roll smoothly are the ones that you would want to shoot for.
The motor is what powers the shop vacs. You can refer it to the brain of the unit. For this factor, the higher the motor’s power will be, the more suction power you will get. And the power is generally stated in HP.
Moreover, the higher the HP, the more powerful it is going to be. So if you do want some serious suction power, you should go for the ones that have a motor that has a relatively high HP rating.
For the power cord, what you have to consider is the length. The ones that come with a comparatively shorter power cord will limit your reach substantially. On the other hand, the units that have long cable will let you reach hard to reach places easily.
With those, you would not have to worry about not being able to find a close power outlet either.
When it comes to offering you extensive reach, the hose also plays a vital role. The first thing that you need to consider is whether the hose is long enough or not. If the hose is short, you will have trouble trying to clean the tight corners. Also, make sure that it is wide enough, or else it will get clogged quite frequently.
The last thing that you should factor in is the included accessories. In this factor, the higher the number of included accessories, the more versatile it will be. You will be able to carry different types of cleaning tasks with those pretty easily.
How to Clean Jobsite After Woodworking?
No matter how good a shop vac you buy, if you do not know how to use it to clean the job site, you will not be making any progress. That being said, here is a step-by-step guide that you can follow to clean the job site using the shop vac that you buy:
Step 1: Wear Protective Gears
As you are going to clean small particles of dust and sawdust, you should first wear a mask. That will make sure that you do not breathe in the dust and other small particles. Also, wear any eye protective gear that you can find. That will ensure that your eyes do not get obstructed when you are carrying out the cleaning task.
Step 2: Power on the Shop Vac
Before anything else, you will have to find a power outlet that is near your job site. And before plugging the shop vac in, make sure that the drums are empty. If they are not, empty it. Plug the vac into a power outlet and ensure that it is operating optimally. Once you check that everything is good to go, move onto the next step.
Step 3: Get Rid of the Sawdust
Sawdust is something that easily spreads around. And when you finish off the woodworks, you will find that all the upper surfaces around your working area will be covered with that. Attach the crevice tool and clean all of the sawdust layers that have settled on top of the surfaces.
Step 4: Clean the Floorings
First, you need to clear out the small chunks of wood that might be scattered on top of the flooring. For this, you would not need to attach any sort of attachments. Use the hose and such all the small chunks one by one from the flooring. Do make sure that you get to every corner. If you can not get enough reach, attach the extension wands.
Then attach a floor cleaner on the end of the hose and clean every corner of the floor. That will get rid of the dust that might be on the floor. For the tight corners, use the crevice tool and collect all the dust that has accumulated there.
Step 5: Blow the entire area
After you have finished cleaning the upholstery and the flooring, you will have to set the vac to blower mode. Detach any accessory that you might have attached to the blower and attach it to the blower mode.
Turn the power to the maximum and blow the entire area. That will clear out any of the dust and sawdust that might be on the job site.
Step 6: Disperse the Collected Dust and Woodchucks
Once you are finished cleaning the job site, you need to properly dispense the collected sawdust and wood chunks. For that, we would recommend getting a ziplock plastic bag. Open the lid of the vac and fill the plastic bag with the dust first. If the bag is full of the dust that you have collected, use a separate bag for the chunks.
After collecting them in the bag, make sure that you close the ziplock. Then put dispose of them in a trash can. And if the shop vac that you have does not have an auto filtration cleaning mechanism, we would recommend cleaning it with a blower.
Even though many of the vacuum cleaners now have a specialized design that makes them ideal for construction and woodworking sites, they are yet to catch up on what the best shop vac for woodworking has to offer. And no matter which one you pick from our recommendation list, you are sure to have a redefined cleaning experience.
Since you have read the whole article, you should have already made your mind to pick the right shop vac. With that, you may want to have a look at the woodworking lathe that are beginner friendly, cnc router for small shop use, and chisel sharpening jigs.